Thursday, March 19, 2009

Science, Condoms and the Pope: The Long and Short of It

Thomas Riggins

The Pope's comments in Cameroon, as reported by AP, that giving out condoms could threaten public health and that they won't solve the problem of the spread of HIV, shows, once again, the immense gulf between the Vatican and what it stands for, and a rational scientific outlook.

Amongst uneducated and superstitious people his words carry much weight, so who knows how many thousands of preventable deaths will result from his ignorant statements and uncaring words.

Science has shown that the use of condoms is a major weapon in the efforts to halt the spread of the HIV virus and to prevent the horrible sufferings and deaths caused by aids. None of this has any effect on the closed mind and medieval thinking of the Pope.

His statements have rightly been condemned by the UN as well as by, among others, France and Germany. The French Foreign Ministry released the following statement: "We consider that these statements [of the Pope] endanger public health policies and the imperative to protect human life."

The Vatican said these are long standing views of the Vatican. Well, we know that protecting human life was never the Vatican's strong point as its history of pogroms, crusades, religious wars, support for Hitler, and now rejection of the best scientific advice with regard to a major way to save people from HIV clearly shows, but becoming a major threat to public health in our own time is a new low.

This Pope should resign and the Church should try and find someone with a modicum of Christian love and charity, as well as some knowledge of science, to replace him.

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